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The Champion

November 2017 , Page 61 

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We, the Jury: Peeking Behind the Curtain: Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado

By Thaddeus Hoffmeister

Thirty years ago, Mr. Anthony Tanner petitioned the Supreme Court in an effort to get his conviction for conspiracy and mail fraud overturned.1 Mr. Tanner based his appeal on juror misconduct. According to affidavits submitted by two jurors, a number of other jurors ingested illegal drugs and consumed copious amounts of alcohol during Mr. Tanner’s trial. These juror affidavits, however, were never considered by any of the courts that heard Mr. Tanner’s appeal. This is because of Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b), commonly referred to as the juror anti-impeachment rule, which deems such evidence inadmissible.2 

Upon finally reaching the Supreme Court in 1987, Mr. Tanner was again rebuffed. The high court, siding with the lower courts, ruled that the juror anti-impeachment rule prohibited the court’s consideration of the affidavits. According to the Supreme Court,

[t]his Rule [FRE 606(b)] is supported by substantial policy considerations, including the need to assure full

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